How to find information on investment firms
Working with an investment firm to manage and grow your financial assets is a journey that can yield positive results, but you need to be familiar with and understand the company to make the right choice for your needs. Choosing well at the outset of this voyage can bring you the best long-term results—and the most peace of mind. Today’s internet makes finding information about asset management companies much more convenient and simpler than in previous decades. The key to successful research is knowing where to look. These are some excellent ways to find helpful information on investment firms.
Investment companies are required to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission using Form ADV. This disclosure statement tells you important information such as the current amount of assets managed and how the company operates. It also provides information on fees and compensation. You can access this form for free at the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure, or IAPD, website. Form ADV has two parts, with the second being known as the “brochure.” Take time to read both. The IAPD website may redirect you to another official financial website for more specific information.
Investment firms will either be overseen by the SEC or theFinancial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. Some are regulated by bothagencies. Each agency operates a database that allows you to look up assetmanagement companies and check background information.
- Advisor Search—Operated bythe SEC, this feature lets you search for investment professionals in a firm,and you can also find a link to the IAPD website for research on individualsand companies.
- BrokerCheck—Compiled byFINRA, this database tells you about professional licenses, past disputes, andother pertinent professional information. It also lists mergers, acquisitions,and name changes.
Check both platforms if the firm that interests you is duallyregistered. You may find information on one that was not included on the other.
Many online databases such as Crunchbase focus on business andfinance. Look up the names of asset management firms that interest you to learnmore about them. For example, this Fisher Investments data on Crunchbase givesyou important facts about the company and can spur other research to help youlearn even more.
State Securities Regulator
The Washington, D.C.-based North American Securities Administrators Association, or NASAA,provides information on how to contact state securities regulators to learnmore about financial firms and individual money professionals. Trustworthycompanies such as Fisher Investments, an independent money manager, aretransparent about their professional backgrounds and operations and are easy toresearch through official databases and industry authorities such as a statesecurities regulator.
Reading intelligent reviews on legitimate websites aboutinvestment companies can be a good way to deepen your knowledge about a companyand gain insight into the way it operates. You want an investment firm’spriorities and processes to align with your personal goals, and a good way todetermine this before signing up with a firm is to read informed opinions aboutthe way it does business. Long-lived firms such as Fisher Investments, an assetmanager, are simple to research through online reviews.
Professional Designations Database
Make sure you understand what financial credentials mean bylooking them up on FINRA’s Professional Designations database. Check outthe designations held by individuals working in an asset management firm to geta good idea of the types of financial services it provides. Money professionalshave various specialties, and you should work with individuals and firms thatoffer the types of services you need.
Before signing up with an investment firm, take time for duediligence. Research the backgrounds and credentials of money professionalsusing respected industry databases and legitimate websites. The internet is aconvenient way to check out financial firms so you can move forward with yourmoney decisions with confidence.